January 29, 2010 / 5:18 PM / 10 years ago

H1N1 spreading in some areas but declining overall: WHO

A woman receives a H1N1 influenza vaccine shot from a medical staff at a hospital in Nonthaburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang

GENEVA (Reuters) - The H1N1 flu is still spreading in North Africa, parts of eastern and southeastern Europe and areas of Asia, but is generally declining, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The pandemic virus is still the predominant influenza virus circulating worldwide, posing an increased risk to pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, it said.

“Activity in general is decreasing,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told a news briefing.

Much of the temperate northern hemisphere passed a peak of influenza transmission between late October and late November, the WHO said in a weekly update.

But the H1N1 virus continues to transmit actively in North Africa, including Egypt, limited areas of eastern and southern Europe, and in parts of South and East Asia, including western India, according to the United Nations agency.

In China, the H1N1 pandemic virus has declined substantially since peaking last November, but other influenza viruses have been detected increasingly in recent weeks, the WHO said.

The virus has killed at least 14,711 people worldwide since emerging last April, it said. The WHO has said it will take a year or two after the pandemic ends to establish the true number of fatalities.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Jonathan Lynn

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